A Modern Colorado Residence Redefines “Home on the Range”


Classic Connection in Carbondale

A California design duo brings an easy sense of style to a modern Carbondale home.

Carbondale Indoor-Outdoor Connection

When designers Chris Weir and Susan Collins Weir approached the interiors of their clients’ home in Carbondale, they wanted to emphasize the indoor-outdoor connection of the structure originally established by architect Glenn Rappaport of Black Shack Architects.

Niche White Entryway with Cowboy Boots

Tucked into a niche in the entryway, a 1950s cabinet by Karl-Erik Ekselius from Studio Schalling in Sweden is topped with a hand- hammered brass sconce by Malin Appelgren from March in San Francisco. A wall installation by Maren Kloppmann hangs nearby.

Wooden Stairs Leading to the Reading Room with Abstract Art

The designers added a custom bench, featuring seats covered with Ralph Lauren Home fabric from Kravet in San Francisco, to create a reading area along the stairway to the master suite. Val Britton’s Collapsible City from Gallery Wendi Norris in San Francisco hangs in the space.

Country Contemporary Colorado Living Room with Mountain Views, Chandelier, and Fireplace

Looking out toward expansive mountain views, the living room boasts a Flexform sofa paired with two Moroso quilted chairs by Patricia Urquiola and a vintage Vladimir Kagan walnut coffee table. The kilim is from Tony Kitz Gallery in San Francisco, and the David Weeks Studio ceiling fixture is from Dsegnare in San Francisco.

Corner Window Dining Room with Abstract Art and View

A custom Claro-walnut-and-blackened-steel table by Studio Collins Weir anchors the dining room, which takes in natural scenery; the Claudio Bellini blue-leather-and-blackened-steel dining chairs for Walter Knoll are from Dsegnare. Mary Weatherford created the large-scale artwork.

Revamped Wooden Kitchen with Sky Views

In the kitchen, the designers revamped the cabinetry by adding open upper shelving and vertical-grain Douglas-fir door and drawer fronts, crafted by Villarreal Rasmussen Design. Heath Ceramics tile lines the backsplash, and the existing Caesarstone countertops remain. Hans J. Wegner’s CH58 barstools pull up to the counter.

Covered Colorado Porch with Extensive Mountain Views

Off the living room, a covered porch extends the interior space outdoors. Furnishings from Dedon’s Panama collection by Richard Frinier create a comfortable seating area and offer scenic views of Mount Sopris. The stone platter is by Michaël Verheyden and is from March.

All-White Reading Nook with Handwoven Indian Carpet

Custom bookcases, crafted by Villarreal Rasmussen Design, make use of a light-filled corner in the newly established reading nook. The designers reworked the stairway with a glass-and-steel railing and refinished the wood floors here and throughout the main spaces. The Swedish-style kilim from Tony Kitz Gallery was handwoven in India.

Custom Floating Desk Office with View

A custom floating desk made from Douglas fir in the wife’s upstairs office takes advantage of another striking view of the mountains. The Saarinen Executive armchair is by Knoll, and the table lamp is by Christiane Perrochon and is from Bright on Presidio in San Francisco.

Simple Master Bathroom with Large Tub and Rug

Stone tile from ASN Natural Stone in San Francisco grounds the master bathroom, where the sleek tub offers a peek into the landscape. To inject texture into the space, the designers added a vintage Swedish kilim from Nazmiyal Antique Rugs in New York and a CH53 stool by Hans J. Wegner.

Master Bedroom with Original Wall Decoration and Mountain Views

For the master bedroom, Studio Collins Weir designed a bed made with reclaimed Claro walnut sourced from Arborica in Marshall, California. The bed frame, upholstered headboard and nightstands were fabricated in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the chair and ottoman are by Minotti.

Colorado Porch View with Wooden Exterior

A view from the front porch overlooks the verdant grounds originally designed by landscape architect Shannon Murphy of Shannon Murphy Landscape Architects. The lounge chair is from Dedon’s Panama collection by Richard Frinier.

Although clients can’t always articulate to design professionals how they want their home to look, they can often express how they want it to feel. That turned out to be the case for a couple who, after seeing their work in The New York Times, approached husband-and-wife designers Susan Collins Weir and Chris Weir about renovating a house they had purchased in Carbondale. The wife explained they were looking for a design that felt durable and understated. In response to that description, Collins Weir, a co-owner with Weir in the duo’s Sausalito, California-based firm, suggested the house should “be like a pair of Levi’s: comfortable and classic at the same time—something effortlessly stylish,” she says. “That idea really resonated with her.” 

The house itself was a commanding modern structure that had been designed by architect Glenn Rappaport of Black Shack Architects with a distinctive angular roofline, an open floor plan, walls of retractable windows and protected outdoor living areas. “The exterior angles mimic the surrounding mountains and break up the scale of the house,” Weir says. “This knits the building into the site in a very convincing way.” Inside, however, the designers aimed to update the spaces to reflect their clients’ lifestyle while still honoring the original architecture. “Our goal was to quiet it down and to reinforce the exterior connection from every single room,” Weir says. 

Situated beneath a sloping roof that soars to 18 feet at its highest point, a multipurpose great room contains the main living areas of the home. At its core, an existing hefty blackened-steel-and-cast-stone replace dividing the living and family rooms provided a focal point and an opportunity for an update. “We worked to lighten it up with a more detailed split-face limestone,” explains Weir, who handled the interior architectural changes. “We also introduced a cast-in-place concrete hearth and added adjoining Douglas-fir cabinets.” In realizing the redesigned fireplace, builder Craig Barnes, who oversaw the project on-site, created a system of new concrete pads to hold the steel columns supporting the hearth. “The replace was the most intricate part of the project,” he says. “It took a lot of coordination of details.” 

Significant updates were also carried out in the kitchen, which extends off the great room and opens onto an outdoor gathering and barbecue area with wide-open mountain views. The room’s cabinetry was refreshed with new Douglas-fir door and drawer fronts as well as open shelves to replace upper cabinets. “The existing cabinetry was different in every room,” Weir says. “One of our primary goals was to unite the interiors with a common palette.” To round out the room, the glass backsplash came down and new Heath Ceramics tile went up in its place. 

Complementing the new warm-finish palette, the furnishings—overseen by Collins Weir—offer another thoughtful layer. Over original wood floors, which were sanded and refinished, the designer placed handwoven and vintage rugs in key living spaces. She then worked with a combination of contemporary pieces—such as a Flexform sofa and quilted Moroso armchairs in the living room—vintage items and custom designs, including walnut dining tables the duo had fabricated in California. Creating one-of-a-kind furnishings is “something we do in all of our projects,” says Weir, who handles the custom pieces. “These items are very special in that they’re crafted to fit the specific place and time in a client’s life. The designs represent something completely unique to their experience.” 

Other personalized additions include a streamlined bench and bookcases the designers added to a simple hallway to create a reading area. Next to that, a flight of stairs they reworked with a glass-and-steel railing leads to the master suite and a guest bedroom. In both rooms, the designers customized upholstered headboards that reach out to incorporate nightstands on both sides. “The headboards add scale and ground the beds into the spaces,” Collins Weir says. “The heavy woven fabrics we chose lend warmth and texture to the rooms.” 

Despite the vast number of tailor-made pieces and the geographic distance between the designers and the house, the project came together seamlessly. “It was a great collaborative effort,” Collins Weir says. “I went out to Colorado, and the clients came to San Francisco a few times to shop with us. They were really into the pieces we designed and were very trusting of us and our process from the moment I walked in to interview with them.” As such, just a brief six months after the renovation began, the owners were living in and enjoying the house as they had intended. “They could relax, be comfortable with family and watch the light changing over the mountains throughout the course of the day,” Collins Weir says. “It was a perfect fit.” 

–Linda Hayes